Too many times, especially with the difficulties of hiring quality employees, we see too many customers at various food and retail establishments go away unhappy. Whether due to poor quality product or service, it is all too often today’s norm. Not long ago, there was a world where customer service was the buzzword across all industries. That world slowly faded away and a whole generation grew up under the influence of poor service. That generation is now today’s line level staff that facilities such as ours need to survive.
So how do we ensure that we are indeed conveying to our visitors that we are treating them as our priority? First and foremost, the visitor should be treated as our industry was founded. We treat everyone as our guest. This is so important that all staff, from the top management down to the line level, should take it to heart. What it means to be a guest in an entertainment facility is that we are taking them away from their daily routines and inviting them in to have an enjoyable time.
Take for an example a birthday party at children’s entertainment center. Most parents have their party at a facility not just because their child wants to have fun, but for the parent to not have to do a lot of work and planning. The parents are depending on the facility to take care of the work. They are depending on the facility to provide good service. It is up to the facility to take this opportunity to provide good experience that both the child and parents will not forget. And we all know that when something doesn’t go the way the parent expected they usually let you know. When the facility is well-prepared, either by calling to confirm the details with the parents, having the party room ready at the scheduled time, providing an energetic and friendly host, or even having the manager follow up with the parents to thank them for having their party, this makes the guest feel special. The guests see that the facility actually is concerned about the happiness of the child. It is that kind of service that will bring that family back year after year.
Now the birthday party is probably one of the easiest areas of opportunity to provide excellent service. But it takes all employees throughout the facility to ensure that the guest is the priority. Remember, it only takes one bad apple to ruin the entire basket. That one employee who ignored the child at the snack counter gives the parent a bad impression.
A successful children’s center takes the child into account from the very first designs. From the product mix, to the height of the sinks in the restrooms, the facility is designed to be "kid friendly". If the facility is designed to be kid friendly, shouldn’t the staff be also designed as such?
How many times do we walk through our facilities through the eyes of our guests? Definitely not enough. In the grand scheme of business, we tend to focus more on how can we attract customers and generate additional revenues and thus we lose site of a very important goal: satisfied guests and repeat visitation. These in turn will attract guests and increase revenues. It is extremely important for the managers or owners of the facility to take the time to look at their facility as a guest.
Are the employees smiling and attentive upon arrival? Do they have the proper tools (wristbands, tickets, adequate change, etc.)? Do they make use of simple phrases such as "please" and "thank you"?
That last question strikes up an interesting point. It is amazing to see how taken aback by an employee who says please and thank you. It is truly appreciated and shows respect not only to adults, but also to the children. If more employees would just smile, wish people a nice visit or say thank you for visiting, guest service would once again take priority.